How to Transplant Rose Bushes in Fall


The ideal time to transplant a rose is late winter or early spring, when the perennial beauties are still resting. The shock pf having many roots severed can damage them if they are not dormant. But sometimes---if you are moving to a new house, construction is being done or you are rearranging the garden---you must move a rose in the fall. Wait until the hot and humid weather has passed, but do not start once frost nights have settled in. Your soil should have retained some of the warmth and friability of summer.

Step 1

Wait to transplant your bush until the days have started to cool. Moving during the heat of the summer will stress your rose and make it more susceptible to disease or dying. A day with overcast skies and mild termperatures is ideal for moving your rose.

Step 2

Prepare your rose's new location ahead of time. Till compost or well-rotted manure into the bed, in an area wider and deeper than the new hole will be. Water your rose bush thoroughly two days before transplanting.

Step 3

Dig a hole at least 15 inches deep and a bit wider than the current root ball. Use a trowel to mound up a small pile of soil in the hole's center; you'll place the shrub on top.

Step 4

Use a garden fork or shovel to remove your rose bush from its original hole. Carefully dig around the diameter of the bush and at least 15 inches down. Remove the root ball, and keep as much of the original soil as possible. Move the bush to the new hole, placing it on the mound of dirt and spreading out its roots. The rose bush's crown, a slight swelling where the rose was grafted, should be just above the soil line.

Step 5

Fill the hole halfway with the soil you originally removed. Water your bush thoroughly, and allow it to drain. Then fill in the rest of the way with soil. Tamp down firmly to remove any pockets of air.

Step 6

Remove any damaged or weak branches with pruning shears. Do not prune for size or appearance in the fall; new growth will be damaged by frost. Water the bush every other day for one or two weeks until it is established. Then slowly reduce the amount of watering to once a week until winter arrives.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost or well-rotted manure
  • Hose
  • Shovel
  • Garden fork
  • Pruning shears


  • Gardening Know How: How to Transplant Roses
  • New Mexico State University: Growing Roses
  • Texas A&M Extension: Roses: How to Plant
Keywords: transplanting roses, fall gardening, moving rose bushes

About this Author

Aileen Clarkson has been an award-winning editor and reporter for more than 20 years, earning three awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. She has worked for several newspapers, including "The Washington Post" and "The Charlotte Observer." Clarkson earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Florida.